The day I got married, one of my closest friends looked me in the eye and said "God has many wild and wonderful things ahead for you and Jeremy."

Being called mom by 7 kids is definitely wild. Each day I look for the wonder in it all...and give thanks.

Partnering with my husband in life, parenting, work and serving is definitely wonderful. He is my favorite.



Monday, December 13, 2021

2021 in Review

2 - The number of times our family of 9 has been together this year. It's harder to get everyone in one place at the same time with Katerin working in Waco, Emily in BCS, and Wesley at CofO & Pine Cove.

0 - The number of things we have to complain about. God's provision and presence has been abundantly clear.

2 - Our 2 pups are quite the source of enjoyment for our whole family. Cocoa & Hiccup are well loved!

1 - True Story: Circumstances usher us into unwanted territory sometimes and it's hard to navigate in a new place. This year is full of stories that are not mine to tell, but what I can talk about is the assurance of who God is and His work in our lives that is unmistakable.


For this reason, we can enter this season with JOY and GRATEFULNESS.


Merry Christmas from all of us!

Saturday, December 11, 2021

SAT is not just a test anymore

 

I'm a freshman SAT mom and I need an SAT Acronym Book for Dummies!


It started when my daughter said she wanted to tryout for SATs in the Spring of her 8th grade year. I'm asking myself, "When did the SAT start having tryouts and why already in the 8th grade?"

I soon found out she meant the Student Athletic Trainers so we attended the Zoom meeting, got all the links, read the handbook, previewed the calendar and she was ready to commit!




She was so excited to make the 1st cut and advance to the next step: Summer FB practice starting July 26. Bye-bye Summer!

I soon ran into another repeated acronym when we examined the July and August calendars.

PX


What's that? I checked the handbook, emails and even looked to see if there was an answer key on the bottom of the calendar explaining what the acronyms stood for. Nothing.

I finally mustered up the courage to email Coach Marr, which by the way, I did not know if I should address her as Coach Marr or Ms. Marr. Was she a coach? I wasn't sure but she seemed intimidating so I chose to call her Coach Marr.


In my email I tried to prove my due dilligence of searching for the answer of what PX stood for so that I could avoid wasting her time, but ultimately I just had to ask.

And I felt like a dummy...again.

PX = practice

Of course it does! It's on the calendar 6 days a week!




My sportsU app began blowing up with posts --

About teams....VFB, JV, 9FB, FrA, V VB, VB, BBB, GBB, BSOC, GSOC


Places: FH, ATR, PNG, KF, TMHS, CFA, SA


And things like EQ, NHS, NHSSMA, TSATA, FHFT, GHATS
#noBCD--some of which I still do not undertand.


Then pops up an acronym we all know...MDA. That one shouldn't be on the app or on the calendar, but it is. Marr had 3 weeks FMLA after surgery and we all hoped for the best--praying for Coach Marr to be cancer free ASAP.



I know as the school year progresses new acronyms will continue to sprinkle the sportsU feed and I'll continue to use context clues to try and figure it out so I'm not the mom with the DQ.

And maybe I'll create a cheat sheet on the SAT Google Drive FYI.

To the future Freshman SAT Parents, SAT Acronyms Cheat Sheet TBA!


(Photo creds: Larry Stanteen--fellow SAT parent! TY!)

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Bye-bye Big Blue

Today we said good-bye to our beloved Big Blue. It was time. But we cannot say good-bye without taking a drive down memory lane….

We got Big Blue back in 2012 right before we adopted.

Big Blue welcomed us at the airport when we came home from Colombia with our 4 additional kids.


Big Blue took us to church as a family every Sunday.



We took many trips to see family living a few minutes away, some a few hours away and some out of state.





Big Blue went with us to Pine Cove Family Camp.




Big Blue carried 13 Freshman for Marian’s Homecoming in 2015 and about 12 freshmen for Omar’s Homecoming in 2020.




Paw-paw and neighbors all shared Big Blue to carpool a few years while our kids attended Rosehill Elementary.




Friends piled in Big Blue to go view Christmas Lights one chilly December night—listening to Christmas music, munching on snack bags of Christmas trail mix, and drinking hot cocoa.



Big Blue shuttled students to the airport to head out on a mission trip.



And Big Blue carried Wes and Marian with their photographer, Hannah Clausen, and all their gear to downtown Houston for their Senior photo sessions.



As Big Blue aged, parts started breaking off in the interior, and we just collected the broken pieces under the seats. I was sure to tell the new owner in case he hadn’t noticed.

Gorilla tape kept the interior attached to the side passenger doors and held a few other parts in place too.

As kids became adults, we needed Big Blue less and less for family outings. We used it more for work errands, but errands requiring Big Blue became few and far between.

With it’s broken radio, poor A/C circulation, fabric stains, miscellaneous pieces tucked under the seats… none of the kids are really sad with the news of selling Big Blue. Can’t really blame them.

But Big Blue served us well and it was certainly well used. Big Blue logged nearly 100,000 miles and I’m sure 100,000 memories with us too.

Saying good-bye is not sad at all because unlike Big Blue, the family memories will last.

Love ya Blue!

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Christmas Letter 2020

 


Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,

and shall call his name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14

700 years before Christ is born, Isaiah tells us His name. His name is Immanuel. God with us.

In a time when we have been quarantined and isolated, His name is still the same. GOD WITH US.

This is our story in 2020. We made plans to finally redo our kitchen and dining area. This reno would also give the front of our house a nice face lift. January and February zipped by! With much excitement, we started to tear down the right side of our house in early March. We had the midsection of the house “secured” with plastic and plywood and about 1/3 of our house GONE when (PSA: Plot twist!) the Pandemic was declared and lockdowns ordered. Would we be able to work? Would we be able to get materials? Now everybody is coming back home and we are missing part of our house!

God with us.

Fortunately, we were able to continue working and surprisingly, 2020 has been our busiest year yet. We had more hands to help and more time since our kids did not have to go to school. Sounds wonderful right? The plot thickens because we quickly tired of working on the house and we were definitely tired of each other.

God with us.

Our favorite contractor, aka Dad, became overwhelmed with paying jobs, so he wasn’t very available to work on our house and tell us what to do. Although Saimon might run Evermon Homes someday, even he will admit (sometimes) he isn’t quite ready to run the remodel project. So the good news is that we hired many of our subs to come get the work done (Or at least get it substantially complete….by Christmas).

This was the kitchen window over the sink

We tore out the kitchen and moved it to the right

And made a new front entrance

Welcome!


And here’s the climax: As I reflect on 2020 and our remodel, I can’t help but think that we have had some demo and reno in our hearts too. I didn’t love it when we tore out sheetrock from the ceiling and old insulation and rat poop fell around us. Just like I don’t love it when the walls I put up are ripped away and the selfish ambition and pride is revealed. We saved some of the original shiplap from the roof and had to carefully pull each piece apart, remove nails, and clean it up. Jeremy hung it in the new breakfast room. It’s not unlike our family this year as we had to learn to talk through some hard things, give space and reaffirm the importance of sticking together always—especially as our kids get older and move on. We still have knot holes and splinters but as we fit together, we have a story to tell--kind of like that wall in our breakfast room.



Looking into the new breakfast room from the back

God with us.


Katerin graduated from UMHB on December 11, and she is looking for a job (get in touch if you know of something!) 



Emily is making it on her own in College Station. 



Marian just moved out to her first apartment and is working full time and starting Fire Fighting training. 



Wes is thriving in his Sophomore year at College of the Ozarks. 



Omar is happy to be the only Evermon at THS this year as a freshman. 


Saimon and Savannah look forward to joining him there next year. 




And all of us adore our two new additions to the family, Cocoa and Hiccup, the cutest boxers you will ever know.



Conclusion: Through the good and bad, and we have had a lot of good this year, God is with us. We hope you recognize His presence in your 2020 too. How have you experienced God with you this past year? His name is the same, from the first time Isaiah told us, to Matthew’s reminder when Jesus was born, today, and tomorrow.

That’s what makes Christmas so merry!

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Thanks Uncle Ronnie

Dear Uncle Ronnie & Cindy,

I don’t know how you made it a whole month, but you did. I’m sure it was a month full of questions and companionship you weren’t quite expecting.

I want to say thanks. Thank you for wanting Saimon to come. Thank you for wanting him to stay. Thank you for teaching him how to rake and bail hay, 



how to count and feed cows and chickens, how to install gutters and vinyl siding, how to keep himself from getting kicked by the cows, how to grow watermelons and tomatoes and fruit trees properly, pick and shell purple hull peas, 


inspect and mend fences, get ticks off the dogs and cows, how to peel tomatoes for homemade tomato sauce, and how a rim coated in butter keeps the water from boiling over.

Thanks for letting him drive the trucks, tractors, and the mule. 


Thanks for letting him shoot at crows with the shotgun. 



Thanks for teaching him silly jokes and sayings he laughs at every time he repeats them.  Thanks for introducing him to “Alf” –his new favorite TV show. Thanks for picking up lunch with him right out of the garden. 

Thanks for being patient with him on long drives and longer days.

I’m sure there are many more lessons and memories yet to be told. But Saimon truly loved and enjoyed being with you and helping you work.


And we are so grateful he got to do that.


Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Lessons from my East African Sister

I found this draft that I had started in April 2018 on my blog. I don't know why I never posted it--probably just got interrupted by the daily busyness and never got back to it. This was written when we shared our home with a family of 7 for 11 months...

I don't know what it's like to be black

I called a friend to ask for prayer and catch up. When I asked her "how are you?" Her answer came slowly and cautiously, "It's been rough the past few weeks." 

Pause.

I waited and then urged her to tell me more. Throughout the rest of our call and the rest of the day I realized...

I don’t know what it’s like to be black. I don’t know what it feels like for race, discrimination and biases to be a huge part of my life. I don’t know what it’s like to experience hurtful comments and emotional injuries to my personhood in every aspect of my life—my neighborhood, my church, my job, my school, my ministry, my travel--because of the color of my skin. I don’t know what it is like to navigate this with my black children.

I know there are many injustices, but I don’t know what it feels like, as a black woman, when racial injustice gets lumped together with all the other sins and nothing changes, nothing is dealt with, and it is dismissed.

I don’t know what it feels like to live uncomfortable. To be on edge and afraid to travel--especially at night. I don’t know what it is like to ignore, to look past it, and fix my face when comments are made and looks are given because I am black. I don't know what it's like to tell one of my kids to "fix your face" when someone has just hurt them.

I don’t know what it’s like to be black.

My friend does. She shared these things. This is just one small glimpse into her world. This may not be every black person's story, but it is hers. And I am undone. She is my friend and I had no idea. I'm so sorry for that.

 

I look at the news and I know I cannot change the world and make all of these painful things go away. So I turn to my friend and ask her, how can I love you?

Reach out, check in, be normal, be a friend.

Talk and ask questions.

Be willing to be uncomfortable.

That’s a start.